What Ever Happened to ICQ?

Reported today on TechSpot For the full article visit: https://www.techspot.com/article/1771-icq/ What Ever Happened to ICQ? I Seek You ICQ, short for the phrase “I Seek You,” laid the groundwork for standalone instant messaging clients when it arrived in November 1996. Think about…

What Ever Happened to ICQ?

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Reported today on TechSpot

For the full article visit: https://www.techspot.com/article/1771-icq/

What Ever Happened to ICQ?

I Seek You

ICQ, short for the phrase “I Seek You,” laid the groundwork for standalone instant messaging clients when it arrived in November 1996. Think about how long ago that was…

Microsoft’s trailblazing Windows 95 was barely a year old, Nintendo had just introduced the N64, and those with a reason to have a cell phone actually used it to talk on.

Launched after less than two months of development from Israeli company Mirabilis, it predated and influenced many of the popular chat programs of the era including AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger and MSN Messenger.

Incredibly enough, ICQ has also outlasted its chief competitors. AIM shut down last December, Yahoo’s communications program bit the bullet in mid-2018 and Microsoft laid its Messenger client to rest in 2014.

ICQ offered a number of innovative features including multi-user chat, async offline messaging, resumable file transfers and a searchable directory. Users were issued a unique User Identification Number, or UIN, upon registration. This number (I somehow still remember mine by heart some 20 years later), along with custom handles and an attached e-mail address, were used to search for other users on the platform.

Mirabilis enjoyed first-mover advantage, attracting millions of early Internet users enticed by the proposition of chatting with friends and family in real-time. ICQ’s success also captivated potential suitors, prompting AOL to ink a check to the tune of $287 million for the entirety of Mirabilis’ assets in 1998. Contingency payments that started in fiscal 2001 reportedly totaled an additional $120 million, pushing the total value of the deal over $400 million.

America Online would manage

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